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GENERAL PROGRAMS

ANTI DISCRIMINATION TRAININGS

For 25 years, Project Reach has been asked by schools, community organizations, and many others to intervene in crises situations, provide technical assistance, and conduct workshops and skills-building trainings to better equip them to do the important work of empowering their communities.

Our Anti-Discrimination Clinic and Anti-Discrimination Training Series engage participants in a comprehensive examination of race, class, and gender. Designed by the young people at Project Reach, these trainings challenge participants to question existing norms and values, as well as develop their abilities to create and institutionalize anti-discriminatory policies and practices. Trainings are available to young people as well as adults, educators, and service providers.

SOCIAL JUSTICE BOOT CAMP

Social Justice Bootcamp is an opportunity for young people across various communities to come together and learn the skills and concepts necessary for what we refer to as "organizing readiness". We collaborate with our partner organizations--whether their focus is mono-ethnic/racial, LGBT- only, differently-abled, or geographically separated-- to demonstrate that “having everyone at the table” is achievable and significantly changes the ways in which young people and adults relate to one another, build community, and move forward to proactively interrupt discrimination and injustice within their communities. This multi-racial, multi-gender, cross-community, city-wide and national gathering is a 1-week intensive training that takes place on our farm in Upstate New York.

Social Justice Boot Camp embodies an anti-militaristic, interdisciplinary approach to “organizing readiness”-- the concept and belief that young people cannot organize for change unless they are sufficiently “readied”. The approach is necessarily “anti-militaristic” because it challenges the notion that force and abusive power (read “bullying”, discrimination, etc.) are acceptable ways to live, change, or improve our communities or the larger world. Organizing readiness requires that solidifying one’s identity, their sense of history and their place in it, and their critical understanding of the world are vital elements to readying them and preparing them to stop injustice and make change in their community and the larger world around them.

For over 6 years, our Social Justice Boot Camp training retreats have provided countless opportunities to bring together young people from around New York City and beyond who would otherwise never meet.

OUTRIGHT CONSORTIUM BRUNCHES

The Outright Consortium is an opportunity to bring our different communities together, geared especially to reach one of the most unserviced populations out there: immigrant, undocumented, and in-the-closet youth. At these brunches young people from our partner organizations come together to share food and experiences, gaining a firsthand account of the unique challenges that one another face, often for the first time.

In addition to film screenings and presentations, attendees hear incredibly difficult and deeply personal stories from public officials, principals, executive directors and students about “coming out”, facing hardships, victories in addressing historic homophobia, transphobia and heterosexism. While at each brunch a different ethnic/racial/immigrant community’s reality is highlighted and the unique and different challenges facing their LGBT community is revealed, wonderful intra-borough as well as interborough relationships are also nurtured.

After 3 years of working with over 35 schools and immigrant organizations, the OUTRIGHT Consortium has established itself as a trusted collaboration of partner communities where challenging and interrupting homophobia, heterosexism, sexism and misogyny is seen as necessary and important. Our workshops in schools and immigrant and people of color organizations have touched Black, Latina/o,Native, Arab, Asian, White and Multiracial young people, parents, staff, and administrators and our outreach has focused on those LGBTSTQI centers who are less known.

LGBT CITYWIDE RETREAT

Every year, Project Reach hosts a retreat on our upstate farm for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Transgender, Questioning and Intersex youth. These retreats allow young people the opportunity to leave the city for a weekend and to have the space and time needed to feel like the majority and not the marginalized minority. They are often inspired to share deeply personal and difficult stories as well as meet with other young people to talk frankly about social and community challenges facing LGBT youth.

LGBT PLANNING DINNERS

LGBT Planning Dinners are a platform which allow young people to structure the programming around our annual LGBT city-wide retreat. By attending and voicing their needs, wants, and concerns, they are able to take ownership of an important project and build important relationships with others in the LGBT community over a great meal.

These dinners began by honoring and remembering the 20th anniversary of the first-ever city-wide Lesbian and Gay Youth Retreat of 1991. In 2001 Project Reach hosted a city-wide LGBT Youth Dinner which brought an unexpected 47 LGBTQI youth and 8 staff from all 5 NYC boroughs (14 schools/organizations).After three subsequent dinners, flyers, applications, logistics, and agenda planning were all completed by a cross-community of youth and adults from all 5 boroughs.

BLOCK ISLAND EXCHANGE

The Block Island Prevention Task Force in Rhode Island has long viewed the importance of educating its community’s children about the outside world, hence, their annual 8th grade trip to New York City where Block Island School’s 8th graders, only 12 students total (in a K-12 school of only 120 students) explore the differences between an urban and ruralisland, Manhattan and Block Island.

In 2011, this exciting collaboration brought together 28 students from 3 schools both in NYC and out on Block Island at the Block Island School. Utilizing our Social Justice Boot Camp basic training workshops and community-building exercises (courtesy of Fertile Grounds Project), these Black, Latina/o, Asian, and White students grappled with exercises that challenged their own biases and attitudes, provided them with a safe and fun opportunity to learn about each other’s communities, and opened the door to facebook and “pen pal” relationships that continue today.

COUNSELING AND CRISIS INTERVENTION

As a core component of our values in anti-sexism, Project Reach hosts a Men’s Group as well as a Womyn’s Group which serve as safe-spaces for young people to discuss the often intense interpersonal experiences which affect their lives. Each group has it's own focus and potential for project-based initiatives depending on the interests of the members.

Additionally, we provide 1-on-1 intensive counseling and referrals for young people in crisis and their families. Many LGBT young people, whether out or in-the-closet, face multiple family and personal problems which are often overshadowed by concurrent issues around their sexuality and coming out.

EXTRA CURRICULAR

In addition to our regularly scheduled programs and services, we host a variety of other activities to engage young people in social, cultural, academic, educational, and political opportunities where they can meet one another, develop their awareness and skills, affirm their identities, and take action to address injustice and other conditions that they feel disempower their communities. Please check our Calendar page to see a complete listing.

During the past year, a few of the many activities which we have hosted have included a Lesbian-led Capoeira classes, a Break Dancing workshop for lesbian youth, a weekly Music Jam, a preparation space for the Occupy Wall Street Kitchen, trans-male/gay performance called “Two Dicks and a Diva”, a free Kaplan SAT Prep course, an Intergenerational Graffiti/Hip Hop Art Show, a Day of Mourning Dinner (instead of Thanksgiving), World AIDS Day Dinner, Heritage of Pride March, and a vigil in Staten Island surrounding the killing of a young person.